The Internet may have many different uses to many different people, but a new study released by research comScore reveals that a significant portion of surfers are using it for fun – by playing games online. According to data the company released on Tuesday, online gaming sites collectively hosted 217 million unique visitors during the month of May, representing 28 percent of the Web’s total online population for that month, which was 706 million people by their count.
Not only does 28 percent represent a sizable chunk of the total audience, it also represents an impressive 17 percent growth from last year. The comScore survey attempted to account for all sites that provide online or downloadable games, such as MSN Games and AddictingGames.com. Yahoo! Games turned out to be the most popular site, drawing 53 million unique visitors.
To advertisers, the boon of online gaming sites could represent untapped possibilities. “With one in four Internet users visiting a gaming site, playing games online is extremely popular. The fact that these websites are pulling in over a quarter of the total worldwide Internet population shows what a global phenomenon gaming has become,” said Bob Ivans, executive vice president of comScore Europe, in a statement. “The potential of the online gaming arena should be especially appealing for advertisers, as the average online gamer visits a gaming site 9 times a month.”